(Marathi, Duration 120 Min)
Group: Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal, Goa
About the Play
Based on Amita Kanekar’s English novel, A Spoke In The Wheel (2014), ‘Avyahat’ (meaning continuous) is set in the third century BC after the brutal Kalinga war wherein the undisputed ruler of the Magadha kingdom, Ashoka, is gradually increasing his influence on the Sangha – the Buddhist monastic order. Upali, a monk at the Mahishmati monastery, has been commissioned to write a biography of Gautam Buddha by Ashoka as a part of his larger project revive Buddhism among masses. But to Ashoka and Sangha’s disagreements, Upali portrays Gautam Buddha in an objective, non-mythified manner. Upali continues to underscore the disparities between Buddha’s teachings and Sangha’s deviation from it. Meanwhile, Upali bonds with Bhima – a war-prisoner of Kalinga and a leader of the Bhurya community – over their shared trauma of the violence at Kalinga and their dislike towards Ashoka. As these and several other characters come together, the play unfolds the conflict between state and its subjects, and the threats that absolute concentration of power through religious sanction pose to the freedom of people.
About the Group
Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal is a Goa based theatre company, established in 1950 by Vishwanath Naik. Over last seven decades, Hauns has produced numerous plays and has performed in Goa as well as other parts of India. It has also implemented projects to nurture new talent in theatre and has, over the years, mentored several playwrights, directors, actors, and designers. It was adjudged as the Best Cultural Organisation by the Directorate of Art and Culture, Goa in the year 2014 for its unparalleled contribution towards Goa’s cultural scene.
About the Director
Rohan Naik is primarily a Music composer whose strength lies in interpreting drama and visual through music. Being born in the family that was instrumental in forming and taking forwards Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal, his participation in theatre related activities has been a early affair. He has since participated in several plays performed by Hauns and other organisations as an actor and music designer. For past 5 years, he has been closely associated with filmmakers while working as a music director for films and credits his learning about visual storytelling to the same. He likes to come on board in the conceptualisation stage of the film itself which helps him shape the film through his music from a very early stage. He has received various awards for acting and music design from Kala Academy, Goa; a state film award for best lyrics, nomination for best sound design at Mahindra Excellence in theatre Awards along with Kaustubh Naik and recently, the Maharashtra state award as best director for the play Avyahat.
Avyahaat means never ending, something that never rests. It refers to the unending cycle of violence and power that the human civilization is subjected to. The play follows the journey of Upali, a bhikku, who is trying to negotiate the multitude of changes that have been happening around him after Samrat Ashok, the emperor of Magadha, surrenders war and accepts Buddha dhamma. Although Avyaahat is a period play, its relevance can be found strongly in any period and civilisation. The play makes us question a lot of things that are happening around us and also, within us.
The process of directing Avyahat started with a series of challenges. The script has quite a few scenes where there are intense philosophical discussions, along with a is a broader political subtext to the script which is revealed through these discussions. Our major challenge was to figure out how to effectively stage these scenes in am engaging manner, without taking away attention from the core philosophy. Limited availability of time being another challenge as we were doing script revisions, dry reads, improvisations, blocking, brainstorming about design simultaneously.
The entire process was really collaborative and everyone gave their inputs in addition to performing their allotted roles. Mandar Jog, who plays an important character in the play, took on the additional responsibility of production management and ensured everything went according to the plan. The play is set in third century and the amount of research that every individual had to put, may it be the actors, especially Keatan Jadhav who plays the character of Upali or may it be the entire technical team, was immense. Prajakta Kavlekar did a very thorough and detailed job of costume design by finding threads of cultures long lost and recreating them in a way that was apt for the play. Personally, I feel blessed and really fortunate to have gotten this opportunity to direct such an insightful script by Kaustubh Naik and to be working with our incredibly talented and driven team of Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal.
26th January 2020 @ 7:00 pm
Actor Murali Open Theatre
Director: Rohan Ravindra Naik
Cast & Credit
Adapted by Kaustubh Somnath Naik from the novel ‘A Spoke in The Wheel’ by Amita Kanekar
Directed by Rohan Ravindra Naik
Produced by Hauns Sangeet Natya Mandal, Ponda (Goa)
Set: Kiran Naik
Music: Rohan Ravindra Naik
Make-up: Pradeep Govekar
Costumes: Prajakta Kavlekar
Lights: Gurudatt Desai/ Partha S
Production Head: Urmila Parker and Smita Naik
Production Assistance: Twaha Abdul Majeed
Documentation: Ankur DInge
Subtitles: Meera Usha Krishna
Keatan Jadhav, Bipin Mangeshkar, Govind Bagkar, Satish Gaonkar, Mandar Jog, Santosh Naik, Prajakta Kavalekar, Nitesh Naik, Atmaram Dhargalkar, Jitendra Parker, Apoorva Tivrekar, Varad Naik, Samir Shirodkar, Navjyot Naik Gaonkar, Agraj Desai, Shablo Gaonkar, Shravan Fondekar, Sudesh Naik, Snehali Jog, Vijayadurga Bandodkar, Nehal Parker, Satyam Acharya